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Putin warns Russia's coronavirus crisis yet to peak as cases surpass 47,000

Russian President Vladimir Putin chairs a meeting with members of the Security Council via a video link at the Novo-Ogaryovo state residence outside Moscow, Russia April 16, 2020. Sputnik/Alexei Druzhinin/Kremlin via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY.

MOSCOW (Reuters) - President Vladimir Putin said Russia had managed to slow the spread of the new coronavirus but warned the peak of the outbreak still lay ahead after the number of confirmed infections surged past 47,000 nationwide on Monday.

Russia reported 4,268 new confirmed coronavirus cases on Monday, down from more than 6,000 the day before. Forty-four people died overnight, bringing the death toll to 405, Russia’s coronavirus task force said.

Russia’s new coronavirus infections have risen quickly in April even as Moscow and an array of Russian regions have imposed lockdown restrictions now already three weeks old.

But despite the clampdown, infections have spread from Russia’s worst-hit area in Moscow and penetrated all of its more than 80 regions, Putin said at a televised meeting with officials and health experts on Monday.

“We have nonetheless managed to slow down this process and hold it back,” he said, but added, “...The peak of the incidence rate is yet to come.”

Private testing results among people without symptoms suggest the coronavirus has infiltrated more deeply into the capital’s population, official data show.

Deputy Prime Minister Tatiana Golikova warned that the regions were on average two to three weeks behind Moscow’s infection growth rate.

At the meeting, Alexander Gorelov, deputy director of a research institute at consumer health safety watchdog Rospotrebnadzor, identified 285 infection hotspots nationwide and said that 64% of them were hospitals.

Reporting by Vladimir Soldatkin, Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber, Maria Tsvetkova and Gleb Stolyarov; Writing by Tom Balmforth; Editing by Mark Heinrich

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